The Federal Government says it has created 74,413 employment opportunities for Nigerians through effective implementation of various environmental projects in the country.
The Minister of State, Environment, Sharon Ikeazor, disclosed this at the closing of the 15th National Council on Environment (NCE) on Friday, in Abuja.
Ikeazor said that the employment opportunities were through effective collaboration of the ministry with other private sectors across the country.
“The ministry has been able to create 74,413 direct and indirect jobs through the implementation of various people oriented projects and programmes as of the second quarter of 2021.
“A total number of 25,263 persons classified as the rural and poorest of the poor have received various livelihood enhancement trainings and support and have gone ahead to make a decent living for themselves,’’ she said.
Ikeazor said that the ministry had been working hard to meet obligations under Paris Agreement in which it was a signatory to, adding that the government had been able to achieve its obligations.
She said that some of the achievement included revising the National Policy on Climate Change (NPCC) which was approved in June by the Federal Executive Council.
She also said that the government had developed an Adaptation Communication document, which would highlight the adaptation efforts to the impacts of climate change.
“The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), COP 26 meeting scheduled to hold in Glasgow later this month, will be an opportunity to showcase our achievements.
“It will also address the agenda items for discussion that are of immediate importance to Nigeria these include.
“It will as well mobilise finance to address climate change, scaling up adaptation by strengthens our ability to adapt to climate change impacts and finalising the Paris Rulebook,’’ she said.
The minister reiterated the government`s commitment to the Nigeria Energy Transition Plan of a universal access to energy by 2030; zero carbon emission by 2050; and industrialisation to alleviate poverty and drive economic growth.
She said that Nigeria recently participated in the high level dialogue, adding that it has afforded the nation a rare opportunity to demonstrate ambition towards achieving the global goal in this regard.
“The nation in alignment with the global community is also focusing on the following five themes towards achieving this target: energy access; energy transitions.
“Others are, energy action to advance other SDGs; capacity building and data; and finance and investment,’’ she said.
Also the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Alhaji Hassan Musa, said that the NCE meeting would review the level of implementation of the previous years councils decisions and assess the progress of development in the sector.
Musa said that the meeting had been a platform for stakeholders in the sector to critically consider and approve policy direction and focused for the sector.
He said that the theme of the 2021 NCE meeting tagged: “Appraisal of the Emerging Challenges and the opportunities in the Environment Sector: A call for Actions towards the Environment of our Dream” was apt.
He added that the theme was timely as it puts the issues of the environment on the front burner.
Also, Mr Jean Bakole, Country Representation of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), said that the cost of inactions to environment issues maybe unqualifiable and better imagined than real.
According to him, mutational and birth defects are on the rise, life expectancy is reduce, food security issues are on the rise, fresh water stress and scarcity in the rise.
“Also, forests have seen annual losses of 5.2 million hectares between 2000 and 2010 (WB). Livelihood is threatened and security threats on the increase, a good example are the Lake Chad basin area.
“COVID-19 is a good example of an environmental challenge we all did not see coming, but behind changes are opportunities, so Nigeria must take advantage of possible opportunities,’’ he said.
Bakole, represented by Mr Yomi Banjo, an environmentalist in the UNIDO, commended the ministry of environment for ensuring effective implementation of various projects in the sector.
He said that UNIDO was positioned to support countries in identifying and addressing emerging environmental issues and would continue to ensure it achieve its goal.